It was one of those February days when the sun oozes out its hotness but the wind still blows cold. The time when soaking under the sunlight with a cold warm breeze feels pleasing. Sound of a painful scream could be heard from the inside of the shabby-looking small house. It seemed Saad’s wife was in labour for the fourth time. Soon the cry of her infant echoed. Midwife congratulated Saad on the birth of his son. However, to him it was not a very joyful moment as it was his fourth child.

Few weeks passed. Neighbours and relatives came to see the child but everyone made fun of the child as he was dark. Another thing which made them laugh was his name, Parizaad. He was named by his mother. She used to rebuke people who made fun of her beloved little son by saying, “You all are blinds who can't see the beauty of my son.”

Even Saad warned her wife about the name by saying, “This name will make his life hell. Choose a normal name for him." She didn’t pay heed to his words. She uttered annoyingly, “You all have become enemies of my beautiful child. How come someone mock a child for his colour by overlooking his true beauty. For me no one is more beautiful than my Parizaad.”

Many years passed. Saad and his wife passed away. Two of their sons got married and were living a normal life. Talking about Parizaad, the unfortunate boy grew up as a sensitive and matured man. Unfortunate, not because of his colour but because of people around him who looked down on him which stirred up his childhood. His loose attire, walk will make you feel sad, just a little with sagged shoulders.

Despite the battle he was facing since childhood which actually became a permanent resident in his mind, he managed to excel in his studies. In hope of getting that affectionate or respectable glance in the eyes of people, he worked hard to score good. People around him started admiring him for his intelligence and humble behaviour. They used to approach him for his help in studies, documentation or other paperwork. Meanwhile, at home, his brothers and sister-in-laws left no stone unturned to taunt him for not earning well. For them his whole existence was a burden.

Parizaad was fascinated and keen towards the world of words. He began writing quotes, poems, and stories to fill the void which he always longed to be filled by someone special. After the incident of a neighbourhood girl who accused him of flirting with her, Parizaad’s brothers beat him badly without knowing the truth. The girl took Parizaad’s name to conceal her boyfriend and herself from the disgrace of having an affair. No one could ever think of her with Parizaad as he was ugly in people’s eyes and no girl could like him. Parizaad was broken to the core.

The reputation he had earned all this time turned to ashes in his mouth. A dignified mature man like Parizaad felt like he was robbed publicly. The visual of his brothers beating him while the onlookers cursing him was roving in his mind. He was not that disturbed by the outsiders throwing dirt at him but he was shook seeing his brothers turning into monsters despite knowing him. That night was the night when Parizaad silently prayed for the first time to God to not let the Sunrise the next morning. As he needed an eternity to shed his tears to the pillow which his beloved mother made for him. Lying down in the pillow felt like he was lying on his mother’s lap. Soon every wild wave of his chaotic mind became silent and he fell into a deep slumber.

He had now assayed the true colours of people. He thought if only he could become rich, nobody would be able to look down on him. Only money can cleanse the stigma and sin of a man, he believed. Gathering everything that was left in him, he bade goodbye to the walls who witnessed his miseries behind the closed doors but were never truly his friends for they failed to speak to him and failed to comfort him. He decided to shift to another city and there he met an heirless rich businessman. Parizaad was appointed as his bodyguard and even took a gunshot for his boss. Parizaad’s loyalty and dedication impressed the rich old man and he gave all his property to him before dying.

Now the dark-skinned poor boy had every luxury of life. He didn’t even change a bit after hitting the jackpot but he looked confident now. Loneliness became his new found happy state. Walking through the path of self-love taught him to heal his wounds. He was the same simple, sincere, humble and pure-hearted Parizaad who also forgave his greedy brothers. Also, sent them money monthly. However, for a non-materialistic person like Parizaad that luxury was meaningless but he was at ease because he had now conquered the cruel world.

Apart from that, Parizaad’s passion for words got him fame. His written words made a special place for him in the hearts of people which he always yearned for. He published his poetry book and was invited for the reading session of his book. The host requested him to say something about life to which Parizaad said looking at the crowd,

“Indeed, the world is a cruel place but let’s not quit being human. Free yourself from the shackles of grudge, revenge, hatred, and anger. Because in my opinion, the cruellest thing a person can do to himself is holding grudges, taking revenge and possessing insecurities. Cherishing these emotions won't ever give you peace. It’s similar to feeding a snake who can kill you with its venom. Let’s not judge people by their appearance. Try to see good in them. Let’s give hand to the people who are suffering under the same sky. Don't feed your ego but feed your soul. And let the love flow through your veins for everyone like a river. If you succeed in achieving all these things then you’ll be the happiest person in this world.”

The entire hall echoed with applause in admiration of Parizaad’s words of wisdom. Parizaad was a saint-like a man whose circumstances forced him to live a life of a sinner for a long time. The message was loud and clear, never become the slave of double beauty standards which commands you to judge people by the way they look.

“There are no black sheeps, only black minds”

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